The technology that most of us carry in our pockets today provides training professionals with opportunities that they’ve never had before.

The computing power of the average cell phone makes it possible for one person to complete tasks that used to require entire teams of specialists. What used to take weeks or months of development time can now be accomplished in a matter of hours if not minutes. The professionals who stand to benefit most from these technology advancements are the ones who have little or no budget but want to increase the amount of video that they use in their training programs. The quality of video that can be produced with today’s smart phones is so good that full length movies have been shot using android devices and iPhones. Their computing capability is so powerful that a high quality learning video can be edited in a matter of minutes.

The technical capability of your smart phone is however only one part of the quality video equation. Another piece to the puzzle is the person capturing the video. That’s you. Think about it.  No matter how good the stove or oven, if the chef doesn’t prep the food correctly, and use the right settings there’s little chance that the meal produced will be of high quality. The same is true when we talk about creating training videos with smart phones. No matter how great the camera or how powerful the processing capability, If the individual capturing and editing the video doesn’t prep correctly or use the right settings, there’s little chance of a quality outcome. Here are five mistakes that trainers need to avoid if they want to produce high quality training videos with their cell phones.

1.  Holding the camera vertically

Holding the camera vertically may work well when you’re reading your email or browsing through a web page. It might even work well if you want to take a quick snapshot. When you’re shooting video however, you want to hold your camera vertically. The reason for this is that when you shoot video from a smart phone in the horizontal position you will not capture the width of the scene, meaning you won’t be able to capture more than one person in the video. You won’t be able to get the widescreen look, and you won’t be able to capture the context of the scene.

2.  Holding the camera with one hand

Most smart phone cameras come with some type of internal video stabilizing device, however, even with the image stabilizer turned on you are going to experience some camera shake. A shaky video can look amateurish and distract from what you’re trying to convey. Holding the phone with two hands greatly reduces the amount of shake that you get when capturing video.  To completely eliminate camera shake you should use a tripod.

3.   Not using airplane mode

Imagine being in the middle of a video interview with a SME when your cell phone rings. You could ignore it and continue the interview, right? Wrong. When your cell phone rings, it stops recording. So, save yourself the embarrassment of having to ask your SME to repeat everything that they just said and put your phone on airplane mode before you start shooting.

4.   Using the wrong camera

Most smart phones come with front and rear-facing cameras, but, these cameras are not created equal. The rear-facing camera on the iPhone 5 for example, can shoot at HD video at 1080 while the front facing can only shoot at VHS quality. Without getting into the technical jargon about why one is better than the other, just know this HD1080 will give you a sharper picture, so if you’re shooting video with a smart phone, use the rear facing camera.

5.  Camera Attention Deficit Disorder (CADD)

CADD occurs when the camera person frequently and quickly moves the camera from subject to subject.  Imagine you are filming an interview between two subjects. When one person is speaking you focus the camera on that person. When the other responds you quickly swing the camera to the other subject. This movement of the camera causes the viewer to get dizzy.  Don’t do it.  Position the camera far enough away so that both subjects are in the frame. Your viewers will thank you.